Sunday, November 7, 2010

What Dreams May Come

     Everyone dreams.  I know I always have, but it is only this past year and a half that I am remembering  far more of my dreams than ever before, because my sleep has been interrupted once, twice, or used to be early on, even three times a night.  The Border Collie in my life either has a very weak bladder, or, more likely, just too much energy to sleep through the night, and when she barks, I get up and let her out. Interrupting my sleep in the middle of dreams means that I am remembering them more clearly. And I know telling someone about a vivid dream as soon as I wake up cements it in my conscious world for days.  I didn't really start paying attention to what my dreams are, or what they might mean, in earnest, until I realized, just recently, that I have been having a recurring dream. That kind of made me stop, and wonder about it., about dreams in general, and about my own, specifically.
     The one that STILL sticks with me, even though I dreamed it probably three weeks or more ago now, was SO strange. I even tried to sketch out a picture of it when I awoke.  Basically the dream involved my parents' back yard/garden.  It was a large square patch of dirt between our house and the neighbor's house, and in its last few years as a garden, before it was turned back into lawn, my parents let my neighbors plant whatever they wanted in it, too. It was too big for my parents (my dad was never the gardener - just plowed and tilled it for my mom, who loved the idea of gardening, more than she did the weeding and upkeep, I think). Well, in my dream, these neighbors hauled in this HUGE wooden structure that my parents had apparently told them they could put over top of their part of the garden, but it was SO big that it covered the garden diagonally, which covered much of our part of the garden.  It had some sort of green tank hooked to the underneath part of it, which was over my head, shaded the whole garden, and there was a room the full length of the top, which you had to get to by wide steps that were angled, like deck steps. It was like a large open-sided, roof covered second floor deck, over the garden.  This, in itself, is strange enough.  I have no idea what the structure itself was for, or why you would want something to completely shade your garden. But the strangest part of the dream was my reaction to it. Within my parent's house, where I was watching this structure be hauled up the bank and into our yard, I was filled with rage. Not anger, not irritation, just pure, absolute, burning RAGE, the likes of which I have NEVER seen in myself, and had no idea I was even capable of. I screamed and screamed at my parents to stop this, I yelled the "F" word over and over out the porch door at the neighbors, who are really good people ( reality, seldom use the "F" word - my daughter commented recently she has only ever heard me use it 3 x in her life, which I think is good. Obviously it would be better if she could claim to have NEVER heard it, but... then there IS reality...)  In my dream, I actually threw myself on the floor, and rolled around in rage and an all-out five year old temper tantrum. I have no idea how the dream ended - I'm guessing it probably ended abruptly when I was awaked by a "yip, yip, grumbleyip" in my ear.  But still, even at this point three or four weeks later, I am still STUNNED by the ferocity of my anger toward something totally weird and bizarre in that dream. I've never been angry at my neighbors in my life. Clearly, the dream was SOME sort of symbol, and I think I might KIND of get the idea of repressed anger.  I didn't give it a lot of heed til this week.
     THIS week is when I realized I am having a recurring dream. I have had it AT LEAST four times now that I can remember. It deals with an upper floor in a a building, some sort of barn, usually, although this last time it was like an attic floor.  The floor is unsafe, and has places where you can't step, can't walk, because it is soft, unsupported, dangerous. In the dream, I am terrified to step out, to walk, because I know I can easily fall through. The last time, in the attic, I was directing someone else those unsafe places, worried that they were walking around, unaware. I was scared to step out, scared to walk to the other rooms up there. 
     My biggest question this past week, before I afforded my dreams any more thought  (other than to toss it out at work as to what the scary floor might mean) was to wonder if dreams really DO mean anything, or if they should really be lumped into the same category as astrological readings, horoscopes and palm readings. I guess the difference is, those are things people tell you ABOUT you, but a dream is actually FROM you, so I had a suspicion that a dream might mean more than what being an Aquarius is all about. A friend, who knows far more about the psyche than I do, confirmed this. It's really pretty interesting. In a nutshell, I guess your brain has to sort of make sense of daytime events and emotions and responses while you're sleeping to make sure you are healthy and ready to face the next day.  That makes sense to me. Like, the example she gave me is, if you were to get in an accident, and were angry about it, it wouldn't really be an appropriate response to take out your tire iron and use it to dissipate your anger upon the person who caused the accident, but that anger emotion that flared up needs to "go" someplace to be used up,  so that it can be called up again when it is needed.  Therefore  you might dream about being in a fight or something else that uses it up, in your dream, and then it's there, again, in real life, when you might need it. That makes perfect sense to me.
     So, I have no real idea where the rage over a nonexistent gardening issue from my childhood comes from. I do have things in my life that I am angry about, deep down and long-lasting anger, and because I have learned, been taught, over my adult lifetime, that anger does not serve me well (i.e. don't bother arguing, because you won't "win") and therefore have come to run away from ANY sort of confrontation, I'm sure I DO have bottled up anger. And I am smart enough to realize that not every aspect of every dream is a metaphor for something in real life.  I simply could not pin what the large, snake-like wooden structure with a long, green water tank  underneath, covering up my parents garden plot could possibly be in real life. Nor do I think the rage in my dream, which was directed at my neighbors, was really and truly directed at my neighbors. No one could ask for nicer people, and I can't imagine I would ever be mad at them for anything, horticultually related or othewise. 
     The unsafe floor? Yeah, I now have a pretty good idea what that's about in my life. I'm A) pretty instrospective to begin with, so I'm relatively in-touch with what goes on in the underworld of my life and B) not "going there," as that would simply require confrontation and all, and yeah, well, that's just not going to happen. So, I guess I will be dreaming about shaky, unsafe floors the rest of my life. I wonder what the consequences are for refusing to deal with the issues in your dreams? ARE there consequenses? Does that mean I will fall through next time? Will I break a leg in my dream?  Maybe the garden structure will somehow come into play in the next installment?  Better than all of those suppositions, perhaps the Border Collie will somehow develop a bladder and a need to sleep 9 or 10 hours in a row, so I can go back to NOT remembering my dreams!


Leigh said...

I can relate. I actually woke up this morning upset over a dream. It has lingered with me all day.

I think that dreams have meanings. I believe its the subconscious mind pointing out something that you might have missed ,whether it is something such as confronting a feeling, a warning or just reminder.

John Gray said...

just found your blog
a nice read!

gpc said...

As a child I had a recurrent 'unsafe floor' dream, often coupled with a dream that my mother was a statue with a happy face on one side and a terrifying face on the other. As a young woman, I could not imagine what the dream meant, but it turned out to be quite literal. It wasn't until over 40 years later that I finally realized that my mother was bipolar, and that every step I took as a child actually was filled with unpredictable danger. (talk about my capacity for denial!) Try reminding yourself before you sleep that you trust yourself to handle whatever happens in life; I've heard that our dream selves often respond to the messages we send right before we fall asleep.